PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Playing perhaps its best volleyball of the season, Plymouth State College stormed past four opponents Saturday to capture the championship at the University of Maine Farmington Women's Volleyball Tournament.
The Panthers, who improved to 18-9 overall, lost only one game in the entire tournament. PSC knocked off the University of New England in four games in the opener, then needed only three games to defeat Unity College in pool play, host UM-Farmington in the semi-finals, and Salem State in the championship.
"We were smooth as silk all day," said PSC head coach John Garneau, who guided PSC to a 25-3 record in 1996 in the team's inaugural season. "We were very pleased. There were very few lapses, and no loss of intensity. The chemistry seems to be very good at this time."
PSC's first opponent in the tournament was a rematch against a UNE squad that had given the Panthers a tough match just a week earlier. PSC won game one easily, 15-3, only to see UNE come back to win the second game, 15-2. The Panthers righted themselves and won the next two games, 15-6 and 15-11, and went on to sweep each of the other three opponents in three straight games.
Freshman setter Stephanie Spiridakis (Belmont, NH) was PSC's representative on the All-Tournament Team. She contributed 80 assists, 17 service aces and 22 digs to the Panthers' winning effort. PSC also got strong performances from senior outside hitters Chantelle Renna (Belmont, NH) and Joyce Pochily (Belmont, NH) and freshman middle hitter Anna Lingelbach (Center Harbor, NH), who returned from missing a week with an injury.
"We were great defensively," said Garneau. "Chantelle Renna and Joyce Pochily were outstanding, and Anna came back. That was a big part of our coming together."
Renna registered 31 kills and 32 digs in the tournament, including 10 kills in both the semifinals and finals. Pochily made 21 kills and 30 digs, and Lingelbach, a strong net player, came through with 11 kills and eight blocks.
PSC returns home for two matches this week at Foley Gymnasium -- Thursday (Oct. 16) vs. St. Anselm (7:00 p.m.) and the Homecoming match Sunday (Oct. 19) against Rivier College (12:00 p.m.). Plymouth State will also host the Little East Conference Championship next weekend (Oct. 25-26) at Foley Gymnasium.
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